The presence of grain dust in the air poses a significant threat as it can cause damage to equipment, reduce its work time, and injuries to workers. Controlling grain dust is a crucial process and a challenge. The grain dust present in the air can result in an explosion as it is highly combustible; large grain facilities and grain storage areas are most susceptible to a fire or an explosion as a result of grain dust present in the air.
There are 4 basic elements that need to be present for the grain dust combustion to take place: 1) fuel – dust particles from barley, rice, wheat, suspended in the air in a confined space; 2) oxygen – normal oxygen levels present in grain storage facilities; 3) confinement – any confined places at the grain loading and storage facilities, i.e. grain bins, basement tunnels, silos, enclosed conveyors; 4) ignition source – static electricity, lit cigarettes, lighters, friction, welding devices, lightning, etc.
Different types of grain have a different minimum explosive concentration of the dust that they produce, which is a measurement of the dust particle size and energy nature. For most grains, the critical level of dust concentration can be reached in a very short time. Maintenance of appropriate dust levels is an important issue for grain loading facilities.
Most grain explosions happen at grain transfer points, where the movement of grain releases dust, resulting in high concentrations of dust particles in the air. The dust can not only collect in leg boots and elevator legs but also trigger an explosion.
In order to reduce the risk of grain dust explosion, levels of dust present in the ar due to grain transportation and storage need to be monitored and controlled. Traditional baghouse dust collectors are easily clogged by the dust; moreover, baghouse dust collectors provide all of the necessary elements for the combustion to happen. The majority of wet air scrubbers are not able to process the dough-like substance that occurs after the grain dust comes in contact with the cleaning liquid.
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